Yesterday was my first Conversational English class at Schering Plough, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to producing medicines that treat everything from Hepatitis-C to brain tumors. Again I failed at pretending that I was an expat from California. It could work- I’m pale enough, have blue eyes, and mousy brown hair, but my insides are as Boricua as a Coqui. I can’t help who I am and I can’t even begin to pretend that I don’t know Spanish. I try, but when the student stumbles on a word and says it in Spanish, I quickly repeat it in English and there she/he catches me and realizes that I do know their native tongue. I try and cover it up by suggesting that my Spanish is at a high elementary level and could never survive in the business world. That is partly true, but not so much.
I’m not suppose to allow any Spanish at all other than their respected names, but I often find an excuse for exception. Like I allow the word “tapon” which is Spanish for traffic jam and “friolento(a)” which is a way of describing a person who gets cold easily. Some may say I’m being lazy at not trying to help them find an option in English and I suppose you could say that is true, even though I often do give them the translation or suggest a phrase that they can use in lieu of, but it’s just that I can’t bare the thought of having them loose their “Puerto Ricaness.” It’s who they are… it’s who I am.
You see, I’m a lover of culture, sub-culture, counterculture and any other word you could use for it and lately I’ve been kicking myself for not having studied Anthropology instead of Communications. Some say that Journalism and Anthropology work hand in hand and that many have yet to discover that and I can’t help but agree. Journalist are observers of everything that goes on around them. This leads me to a quote that I love because of how closely I identify to it- “Some reporters think it’s political content that makes a story memorable. I think it’s the people you find… their quirks, their flaws, what makes them funny, what makes them human. Journalism is just the art of capturing behavior.” -Shattered Glass
I think that you can add that where the person comes from and where they are now also adds to the discovery of who they are. That I think is a topic that could evolve into so many things. So many things that I can’t wait to discover.